Monday, January 16, 2012

A Visit to The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum

It was a cold and windy day – a day when you’d prefer to stay inside.  Although sunny, the temperature was in the teens and the wind was unrelentless.  But we ventured out anyway and were so glad we did.
We drove north about half an hour from the the Mid-Atlatnic Air Musuem at Reading Regional Airport.  Part of their collection of planes is housed in a hangar that once served as the home of the 148th Fighter Squadron.  WACs would fly the planes to Reading from all over the US. At least 24,000 bombers were built during the war years.  Other planes are parked on what they call the Ramp.  As we walked around the planes, our eyes teared from the wind and we rushed to move into the hangar.

There’s an assortment of planes, spanning eight decades, from small colorful ones hanging on the walls to airliners in the 50’s that are displayed outside.  Several planes are in various stages of restoration, including the Black Widow, which was recovered in New Guinea.

Most surprising to me was the silk material that covered the wings and body of several planes.  And the fact that you can look in and walk around the aircraft.
This was a look underneath!
Our guide was knowledgable and able to answer just about any question that our group threw his way. There was a huge TBM Avenger - it was designed so that the wings folded back to fit into tight spots.  This is the plane that President George H. W. Bush flew during WWII.

Our group couldn't help but be fascinated by the WWII planes - including the B-25J Mitchell, 'Briefing Time'.  There are bookcases full of memorabilia, pictures, and even bombs!

But the biggest event of the year occurs June 1, 2 and 3, 2012 with "A Gathering of Warbirds" as over 3,000 reenactors celebrate the 21st annual World War II Weekend. For more information, visit the website....and turn up the volume to enjoy the music!
As we went back into the museum to warm up, I couldn’t help but think of the thousands of people who flew and fought in the freezing cold during WWII...on days just as cold and windy as the one we experienced.  But unlike us, that great generation often didn't have the choice to warm up.

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